Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Book Publishing Secrets with Romantic Suspense Author Anna del Mar

Book Title: The Stranger
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Carina Press
Thank you for your time in answering our questions about getting published.  Let’s begin by having you explain to us why you decided to become an author and pen this book?
Anna: I became an author because I didn’t really have any other choice. I’ve been a life-long writer and I had all these stories worked out in my mind. I wasn’t so sure about the publishing adventure. But I just had to write my stories down.

As to The Stranger, I started to travel to Alaska a few years ago. The place inspired me. The people intrigued me. It was the perfect setting for a kickass adventure centered on a hot, sexy romance, an opposites attract scenario that featured the clash of ice and fire.

I was rattling in the sky, flying in a single-engine over the Alaskan tundra when the story was born. In The Stranger, ex-military pilot, Seth Erickson is fighting his own demons, but when he finds Summer Silva, a beautiful, warmth-loving, Miami woman stranded in the frozen wilderness, he’ll do everything in his power to keep her safe from murder, treason, and the ruthless Alaskan winter.

Is this your first book?
Anna: The Stranger, is actually my third release with Carina Press and the second novel of my romantic suspense Wounded Warrior Series. It follows on the heels of my Amazon bestseller, The Asset and the first novel of my erotic romance series At the Brink. One cool fact about all of my novels is that even though they’re interrelated, they are each a standalone journey. You can read them in whichever order you wish!
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
Anna: I’m very lucky that my novels found a home with Carina Press, an imprint of Harlequin. I chose to go with Carina Press because they have an amazingly talented team and they are all about romance. To me, they’re the place to be if you’re writing anything romance.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey? 
Anna: My publishing journey began when my husband kicked me in the rear and convinced me to go for it. I found a romance editor, Nancy Cassidy, from the Red Pen Coach, and asked her if there was any merit to my story. Nancy was a joy to work with and so very positive and encouraging. She knows the industry inside and out. She led me through the intimidating process of putting my work out there and recommended a few houses she thought would be a good fit for me, delivering me with very little pain to Carina Press’s doors.
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
Anna: I’ve learned patience, perseverance and grit. Patience is a big one. The publishing industry moves at its own pace. It’s very competitive out there, with lots of great authors presenting polished manuscripts and amazing serial concepts. It’s about more than one book. Publishers today are looking for productive authors capable of enduring the rigor of professional writing, willing to create a brand and deliver a steady stream of high quality novels. It’s all about depth and endurance.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Anna: You mean would I recommend Carina Press to other authors considering publication? Heck, yes! Absolutely.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Anna: Write, write a lot, often and continuously. As a newbie, without a completed novel, you’re dead in the water. Find a top of the line editor that knows your genre and listen carefully. If your editor doesn’t get it, neither will your reader. Work hard to polish your manuscript and don’t let rejection kill your writing.

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ABOUT THE BOOK
When her sister runs away with a guy she met on the internet, a warmth-loving Miami architect chases her reckless sibling to Alaska and finds her life in danger from more than the elements. Only a stranger, a wounded warrior who is also Alaskan tycoon with a quarreling family as complicated as her own and no time for a lady in distress—let alone one who walks on her sleep—can save her from disaster. Together, two strangers from different worlds and opposite spectrums of the thermometer must unravel the intrigues that threaten their lives to chase after a new dream, together, in majestic Alaska. 

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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Book Publishing Secrets with Historical Novelist Joan Schweighardt

Genre: Historical fiction (with a legendary component)
Publisher: Five Directions Press
Thank you for your time in answering our questions about getting published.  Let’s begin by having you explain how you became a devotee of the “Third Time’s a Charm” adage.
Joan: The Last Wife of Attila the Hun came out (albeit with a different title) in hardcover in 2003 with Beagle Bay Books, a small traditional publishing company. It had a lovely run with Beagle Bay, garnering lots of good reviews and winning ForeWord and Independent Publisher magazine awards and even being translated into Italian and Russian. But when Beagle Bay decided to stop publishing and become a book packaging company about three years ago, the rights to the book reverted back to me.
I had no plan to try to get the book published again. I’d had three books published before The Last Wife of Attila the Hun and two afterwards, and I was working on two more. But I’d always had a special place in my heart for Last Wife, and when I happened to read a blog by a woman who had published with a company called Booktrope, and then learned not only that Booktrope published some reprints but also that they had won prizes and venture capitalist money for their unique business model, I decided to contact them. And sure enough, they liked Last Wife and offered to publish it.
Booktrope could be called a “hybrid” press, but unlike most hybrids, they did not ask authors for production money. Their model was based on a team system wherein the authors they accepted reviewed the bios of the editors, proofreaders, cover designers and book managers who had signed up to work with them. Then each author would invite the people she wanted on her team to join her in her publishing journey. Booktrope staff members did layout, final approvals, admin and production. As books sold, profits were divided between the author, team members and Booktrope, with the author getting the lion’s share.
This is a publishing model for our times; you can see why the venture capitalists liked it. But the model failed, in my opinion because the principles at Booktrope tried to grow it too fast and didn’t do enough to support their front-liners. I was traveling through Ireland in mid May when I got the fateful email saying that the company would be closing its doors by the end of the month.
One thousands authors were orphaned in one fell swoop that day, and many were very upset. Some had only had their books come out days before the announcement. Many had spent their own money advertising, all for naught. Since this was the second journey for my book, I was probably less upset than some of the others. The Last Wife of Attila the Hun had had two lives, one long, the other shorter. In these times a book is lucky to have one life. I didn’t intend to try to push for a third.
As it happens, however, about a month before Booktrope closed its doors, I did an hour-long podcast interview with C.P. Lesley, an author and one of the founders of a book co-op called Five Directions Press. C.P. had really liked The Last Wife of Attila the Hun, and as she writes historical fiction herself, after our interview we stayed on the phone and had a long chat about writing and publishing generally. Later, when C.P. heard about Booktrope closing down, she invited me to reprint with Five Directions.
I accepted this invitation enthusiastically. The Five Directions model is even more enticing than the Booktrope model that won so many awards. Basically, in order to be invited to publish with Five Directions, you must have written a book all the members really like, and you must have additional talents that you can share. For instance, in addition to being a fabulous writer, C.P. does great layouts. Another writer there does great covers. Everyone does editing and proofing. A few of us are doing PR, and so on. And, best of all, when the book sells, the author keeps one hundred percent of the profits. So bottom line, you get the benefit of working with professionals and you get to keep what you make. As I said above, Booktrope got too big too fast. The Five Directions model works because the members are determined to keep it really small and highly selective.
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
Joan: Things have changed drastically in the publishing world since my first three books were published by the Permanent Press back in the 90s. It used to be that it was enough to be a good writer. Now you have to be good at social media and good at begging the few reviewers left in the world to review your book. Or you have to lower yourself to “buy” reviews. Or you have to have the money to advertise the heck out of your book. Being a good writer alone will not cut it for most of us. Except for the fortunate few who get published by one of the handful of huge publishers that still have lots of clout and money to get a book moving, writers have to adapt. It’s very common to hear artists of all stripes say, “Oh, I only do my art. I’m not into the marketing thing.” I know how they feel, but most have to kowtow to the marketing thing to some extent if they want to make it in today’s world.
Would you recommend the co-op method of publishing to other authors?
Joan: Yes, if you can’t find a really good co-op to publish you, perhaps you can start one. The impressive thing about Five Directions is their commitment to excellence.  
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Joan: Not only must you think outside the box with your writing, but you must think outside the box when it comes to publishing and marketing your work too. This makes writing more time-consuming than ever. It’s good to know that going in.


Monday, July 18, 2016

Book Publishing Secrets with Jonisha Rios, Author of 'Curse of the Blue Vagina'

Book Title: Curse of the Blue Vagina
Genre: Women's Fiction/ Humor
Publisher: Leticia Gomez Publisher/Cafe con Leche Books
Thank you for your time in answering our questions about getting published. Is this your first book?
Yes it is my first book. I always knew I wanted to write a book but I never knew how I would do that. So to be frank it was discouraging at first and took a  long time to finish. I always loved producing plays and commercials. For me that process was quick and easy and also unlike a film or a novel the thrill of seeing your work alive within just a few short weeks was gratifying.  It takes time and for some its takes many years to find the right subject and write then re-write. Like a good movie you can write a screenplay often based on a novel and yet by the time we see the project on a movie screen, many find out that it took years to get it made.  
For me to produce these pieces as plays just made sense because it was an instant process.  I love directing and performing is second nature.  Initially I wanted to create theatrical pieces that would allow me to be involved in all of the aspects of turning nothing into something from the word to the production. Man, is that magical.   Those creations and artists that brought it all to life was always a joyful experience for me to be a part of. In the end some of those pieces are what became the material for this book. 
I was a creative arts teacher for many years and putting pen to paper and then watching performers bring that work to life was truly magical.  It wasn't until my son was born that I started to think about the possibility of creating my book and finishing it once and for all. 
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
I originally published through createspace and it was a good first try but the book wasn’t really ready until my agent, manager, and editor came along. It is nice to do things by yourself especially if you are the type of person who likes to make things happen and not wait around.  The thing is, when a team joins in to support you it makes your work  that much better.  
Don’t get me wrong I love the idea of self- publishing, I tried it and recommend it the same way  I recommend for actors to put up a solo-show.  I believe if you are itching to do something, why wait, get it done, and put it out there. So many people are waiting for their “big break” and sometimes the biggest break that comes is the one you create for yourself. Once you do something, people come out to support.  Lucky for me I was introduced to a great team of people immediately. I am super grateful to my fabulous team of sassy smart chicks- A big thank you to Marilyn Atlas Management, Elizabeth Lopez, and fantastic Leticia Gomez.   
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?
It was a process for sure and it wasn’t cheap.  I spent thousands of dollars to get the book to where it needed to be just to attract my agent and publishing team.  I will start with the cons.  1) You will go through a lot of re-writes.  2) You will have to cut things you love and just let it go. 3) You will work with different copy editors that contradict each other often leaving you to redo the exact same thing you were told to fix by three different people. In other words its not an overnight thing. The book like a movie, or getting back in shape after a long hiatus takes time.  You can’t rush it.  There there times I wanted to chuck my book in the trash and there are a few versions where complete stories are missing.  
The pros- Once its done, its done and its done right. You get to see that you created something from nothing and that it makes a difference.  If that difference is simply that the book puts a smile on someone’s face or has them forget their life drama for one day- then you did your job.
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
I learned that times have changed. In order to attract a publisher you shouldn’t just rely on an idea or a synopsis, write the book. And if no one is interested keep working on it, and if not a single person cares, keep going all the way up until you get it formatted and hire an artist for the cover. Eventually you will finish it and someone will come along that will only make it better. And if that person is you, then that’s great. Its an accomplishment.  Many people start out with an idea and that is as far as they get. Don’t be that person.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Well yes, while it is harder,  it is also more gratifying because you have a team behind you. I’m not gonna lie it helped that I wrote for television, wrote and directed commercials, and have a movie that I not only wrote but had produced by Lionsgate based on some of these characters. The thing is --I would have done it solo regardless, and that is my point.  When you are finished with your work, people seek you out because you fearlessly took a chance and had the courage to complete what you set out to do.  That is an accomplishment. Things have changed out there.  There are really no excuses.  The industry is looking to self publishing to find authors that are doin g their thing. So if traditional publishing doesn’t work for you don’t get discouraged.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Finish your manuscript and all the pieces will fall into place.